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Historic Herald Angels awards put on hold for Edinburgh 2016

Robert Lepage in 887 at Edinburgh International Festival. Photo: Erick Labbe Robert Lepage in 887 at Edinburgh International Festival, a previous Herald Angels award winner. Photo: Erick Labbe
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Edinburgh awards scheme the Herald Angels has been put into abeyance for this year’s festival.

Founded by newspaper The Herald in 1995, when director Peter Sellars was one of the winners for I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, the awards were established to recognise the best of the different Edinburgh festivals’ performers, venues and backstage crews.

Keith Bruce, arts editor at The Herald, told The Stage that the decision to drop the Herald Angels was taken by the management team at Newsquest, the paper’s owners, because a sponsor for the awards had not been sourced.

“Obviously I am very disappointed, as are all the critical team. The awards from our point of view have always been predicated on the fact that The Herald’s criticism is respected and reliable. They were, in that sense, a promotion of The Herald’s integrity and critical faculty,” he said.

Bruce said the awards came under the banner of Herald Events, and as such had to generate a profit for the company.

He is, however, optimistic that he can shift thinking in the company so that the awards are looked on as part of the marketing of the The Herald in the future.

The Argus Angels, based on the Herald Angels, which are presented during the Brighton Fringe and run by sister Newsquest title The Argus, were still awarded this year.

Bruce added that the Edinburgh Fringe, international festival and individual venues were “horrified” that the awards were not happening.

“It is sad it has had to come to this. But I am optimistic that there is enough goodwill out there that they could be back next year,” he said.

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